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Trip Start Jan 20, 2013
Trip End Mar 31, 2013

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Where I stayed
Hostel Tinto

Flag of Colombia  , Santander Department,
Friday, January 25, 2013

I had read many accounts of how arctic the intercity buses are in Colombia so we dressed as if it were winter for our 7 hour journey from Bogotá to San Gil. BUT - we found ourselves in a minivan rather than one of the large buses,  and these vans use open windows for ventilation rather than air conditioning, so our thermal long-johns weren't needed.   Unfortunately,  there was no way we could take them off so we soon had the lower legs pulled up to our knees and had removed all possible layers as the temperature was easily in the low 20's.

 It took more than an hour to get out of Bogotá thanks to the heavy traffic and the van stopping to load on more passengers but eventually we were in the countryside. As Robyn and I were the only non-Colombians we attracted a lot of side glances from our fellow passengers and when I asked one of them what town we had just passed (about 2.5 hours into the trip) they took advantage of the opportunity and grilled me for information on ourselves.  The funny thing was that as new passengers came in (there's a constant flow of people getting on and off) those who had been with us from the start would provide updates to the new passengers about us, saying proudly that we were from New Zealand, where it was summer, and that we had 5 weeks travelling around Colombia and that I spoke a bit of Spanish but Robyn none; and then the new person would fire off a question at me in rapid Spanish,  which I'd completely fail to understand.   Oh well.

 At the halfway point,  we stopped for food and the lovely man who had been sitting next to me in the van bought Robyn and I a chunk of cheese each along with a small package of what looked and tasted to be dried condensed milk either side of firm jam (photo attached below).  We were very dubious but also hungry and nothing much appealed here so...... it was very tasty.

When we got to San Gil, we bid farewell to our new friends,  and with the help of one of the passengers, made our way across the bridge and to the other bus terminal to catch the bus to Barichara. 

According to the latest Lonely Planet (published August 2012), Barichara hotels are a little pricey but it mentions that at last a hostel has made it to the town.  Funnily enough, the exact wording exists in the June 2009 edition but it would have been nice if the latest edition had mentioned that there are now 5 or more hostels to chose from, most of which are more convenient than Tio Tinto which is at the end of town.
It had been a while since either Robyn or I had stayed in a hostels and we'd forgotten little details like bunk beds and having to make our own beds. Luckily the hostel is pretty empty and we have a very small dorm room all to ourselves so we spread ourselves out and make our beds with ever increasing laughter as my bunk bed makes some very loud noises while moving around on it. Even ear plugs can't combat the noise this bed makes! 
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